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Florian Huber

Studies in philosophy at University of Vienna, diploma thesis on the historiographic implications of Heimrad Bäcker’s nachschrift, research fellowship at University of Vienna (March–September 2010).

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Initiates file downloadPh.D. Project Poster

Research Project: Modes of Glass. The Blaschka Objects between Craft, Science and Art.

The subject area of my project is the glass models fabricated by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka. Between around 1870 and 1936 father and son Blaschka, who were descendent from a Bohemian family of glass makers, made models of marine animals and, since 1890, of flowers. While the flowers were made exclusively for Harvard University, were they are still housed today, the marine animals were sold throughout Europe and the USA and can still be found in several University collections. Their lifelike appearance, delicate details and the fact that they are completely made of glass still exerts fascination today. As research objects the glass models constitute a most interesting intersection of art and science.

As the peak of a highly specialized tradition of glass making reaching back to the 17th century, the Blaschka glass models represent on one hand the tacit knowledge and ethics of the craftsman. Their display of organicist aesthetics, clearly visible for example in the jellyfish’s relations of symmetry, places the objects in the context of art nouveau. On the other hand they are also embodiments of a scientific worldview. The Blaschkas knew the relevant literature on marine life and botany, they observed organisms in the field and they corresponded with leading scientists like Ernst Haeckel.

For that reason the Blaschka models cannot be seen as mere theoretical entities but as material objects that serve as trading zones between different cultural fields (scientific disciplines, museums, the public) as well as between different practices (experimental research, arts and crafts, science communication). Thus my study investigates the function of three-dimensional models in biology in relation to the Blaschka objects and their present meanings in art history, literature and science.


Huber, F. (2013). "Spiegelbilder vom Meeresgrund. Leopold Blaschkas Marine Aquarien." In: Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, No. 1 (2013). (=Accepted Paper.)

Huber, F. (2012). "Ökonomische Modelle und brüchige Welten – Joseph Vogls Das Gespenst des Kapitals." In: Pahl, H. & Sparsam, J. (eds.): Wirtschaftswissenschaft als Oikodizee? Diskussionen im Anschluss an Joseph Vogls Gespenst des Kapitals, pp. 23–48. Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2012. (together with Verena Halsmayer)

Huber, F. (2009). Stillleben mit Vögeln. Zu Marcel Beyers Kaltenburg. In: Der Hammer. Die Zeitung der Alten Schmiede No. 34 (pp. 6–7).

Huber, F. (2008a). Wie anzweigen? Anmerkungen zum Dokumentbegriff von nachschrift. In: Modern Austrian Literature. Special Issue Heimrad Bäcker, Vol. 41, No. 4 (pp. 75–85).

Huber, F. (2008b). Martin Arnold und die Fortschreibung der AvantgardeIn: Janda, M. & Czernin, F. J. (Ed.) Bildsatz. Texte zu Bildender Kunst (pp. 116–125). Köln: DuMont Buchverlag.

Huber, F. (2008c). Bilder machen (Review of Georges Didi-Huberman: Bilder trotz allem). In: Wespennest 152 (pp. 100–101).

DK Program The Sciences in Historical, Philosophical and Cultural Contexts
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